Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


SWAMP FIRE (1946). Director: William H. Pine.

The teaming of Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe as adversaries who come to blows is the chief selling point of this pot-boiler. Although Weissmuller is top-billed, probably because of his Tarzan films, the main character is actually played by Crabbe. Mike Kalavich (Crabbe) returns from  the war and back to the Louisiana bayou, where a lack of confidence interferes with his ability as a pilot to safely guide ships through the Mississippi river. People think he's lost his nerve when he makes a decision that costs him his cargo, but not human lives. Meanwhile Johnny Duval (Weissmuller) returns from combat duty to his home on the Delta and eventually comes into conflict with Mike. Mike, who joins the Coast Guard, is involved with Toni (Carol Thurston) but a spoiled heiress named Janet (Virginia Grey) has set her cap for Mike; she and Toni have a lively bitch-slap session and a hair-pulling match that is probably the highlight of the picture. Crabbe isn't bad in this, but as expected, the best performance comes from the always-vital Virginia Grey [Another Thin Man] . Pierre Watkin is also in the cast as Grey's father, but then Watkin seems to have been in virtually every other movie ever made and is competent but little else in all of them. Weissmuller and Crabbe also appeared together in the "Jungle Jim" film, Captive Girl.

Verdict: Two Tarzans and Olympic swimming champs face off but the results are less than spectacular. **1/2.


Gary R. said...

I haven't seen the film, but IMDb says that one of the uncredited members of the cast is a 15-year-old David Janssen.

William said...

No wonder I didn't spot him, although he might have stood out with those big ears of his, LOL!

In any case, his role was quite small. Interesting that he managed to have a pretty major career as an adult, not usually the case with child actors.